Mild Mannered Reviews – Superman #4

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Superman #4

Scheduled to arrive in stores: October 10, 2018

Cover date: December 2018

“The Unity Saga” – Part 4

Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciller: Ivan Reis
Inker: Joe Prado & Oclair Albert
Foil Cover: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado & Alex Sinclair
Variant Cover: Adam Hughes

Reviewed by: Adam Dechanel

Click to enlarge

Superman #4Superman attempts to force back the combined might of Rogol Zaar, Jax Ur and their armed forces. It is a valiant fight but ultimately a failure as a barrage of blows sends Clark soaring back to Earth unconscious.

Superman’s mind begins to wander to a time with Jon when he taught him about taking time to get perspective and not rushing headfirst into conflict. The memory strikes a chord in his current conflict and he begins to hatch a plan.

Superman separates Jax Ur from the rebels and reaches out to the former Phantom Zone prisoner explaining he knows Jax’s crimes rose from his love of Krypton and his desire to preserve it. He then points out Rogol is out to do the opposite, but will sowing the seeds of doubt corrupt their partnership?

As Rogol returns to the fight Superman reaches out to the surviving League members and tells The Atom to carry it out as soon as possible. A weak, but determined Ray enlists The Flash to use a Phantom Zone projector as Superman begins creating a tornado that sucks in all the rebels inside it.

Ray’s plan is to use his technology augmented by the tech in S.T.A.R. to shrink the Earth small enough to send the planet through the projector back to its place in space at the precise moment Superman slingshots the rebels back to the Zone.

Superman’s part of the plan works too well and he finds himself in the Zone with Rogol and the other villains. Clark may be staring death in the face but at least Earth is safe; except it isn’t. Earth hasn’t rematerialized as planned.

Was it all for nothing?

To Be Continued…

4Story – 4: The writing pattern has become clearer over time so I know what to expect with the action coming in waves. The two standout scenes were with Jon and Jax Ur, firstly because they were story relevant and second as they served to flesh out the characters more.

I’m missing Jon and I’ve never really looked at Jax Ur’s motivations before, so it was a good story-beat that served to also be the strongest of the issue.

I’m beginning to find Rogol Zaar tiresome. I hope we learn more about him because I’m borderline bored of him and it’s only been five issues, that isn’t a good sign.

I had wondered what Ray Palmer would do. A simple yet ingenious plan that will obviously have long term side effects that will be interesting to read.

I’m hoping for a twist soon as the story arc needs to be galvanized, at least for me.

5Art – 5: Big, bold and full of action. The build up in the story certainly warranted it and I wasn’t disappointed.

Strangely, however, I was drawn to the scenes with Jon and Jax Ur. Perhaps it was the writing, the emotion or just the changing of pace. I felt ‘connected’ to those more and the art conveyed the drama and emotion. Genuinely feel the art is powerful and a driving force in this story.

4Cover Art – 4: Rarrr! Impressive art, very emotive, but perhaps because this is really all we see Rogol do, it lessens the impact. I am annoyed at myself that I feel this way because it’s a really cool bloodthirsty image. I love the composition, the palette, the imagery just not the character.

5Variant Cover Art – 5: COVER OF THE YEAR! Seriously I think this is the most iconic Superman cover this year. Absolutely brilliant and its strength is not growling villains, ripped capes, glowing eyes or a fist fight. No, its strength comes from giving focus to the Daily Planet and not detracting from the awe inspiring Man of Steel. He is no less majestic being in the distance and that is the power of an iconic piece of art.

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October 10, 2018 10:51 am

I absolutely loved this issue ! The flashback with Superboy was a highlight for me as well! It was such a lovely twist seeing Superman take inspiration from an experience BEING a father rather than an experience with his own father like we often see! That scene was super heartwarming! I love Rogol Zaar personally! I find him terrifying, and that knock-down, drag-out fight between him and Superman in this issue was absolutely epic in my opinion! I wonder where Earth went at the end! Super eager to find out! I wouldn’t say that the variant cover for the issue… Read more »

October 10, 2018 8:33 pm

I really enjoyed the issue and just to echo what you’re saying, the standout scenes were with Jon and Jax-Ur. Just the little conversation with Jon is a character aspect of Superman that many writers (comics and film) miss completely. It’s what makes Superman Superman. And I love that he is thinking about the situation instead of just punching first and asking questions later. I’m extremely happy with what Bendis has been doing with his character. Also him trying to appeal to Jax-ur’s better nature is a very Superman like thing to do. Again, I feel this is quality character… Read more »